The truth behind the oldest pubs in Nottingham
As the Robin Hood Beer Festival approaches, recent research has attempted to settle the debate over Nottingham’s oldest pub.
For decades there has been a controversy over which is the oldest pub in Nottingham – The Bell Inn, The Salutation Inn or Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. It was even a study for Time Team’s Tony Robinson in his 1998 TV programme ‘History Hunters’ looking at the different claims. The Trip has long claimed to be the oldest Inn in the whole of England – but who’s right?
What do we actually mean by ‘the oldest’ anyway? The oldest building, the longest use as a pub, having the oldest caves? What do historical records actually show about these famous Nottingham watering-holes?
According to David, some key answers can be found in the wooden beams that support some of these old buildings. By studying the tree ring data from the wood, scientists are able to give an estimate of the date it was made. A study of the Bell Inn frame gives an estimated date of between 1432 and 1442, and for the Salutation Inn, David has found references that date their timber to the same dates!
But what about Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem? The Trip has the date 1189AD painted in its walls, yet a map of 1610AD shows no building there! Is it enough though to merely point to the building? The pub has rear elevations that are caves in the sandstone rock which are thought to date back to the founding of the original castle in 1067. These caves are claimed to have been the brew house to the castle.
Yet if the claim is to include caves, then the Salutation Inn has to be considered. The Salutation is ‘home’ to the Ghost Walk, which finishes in the ancient, haunted caves beneath the pub, with the caves thought to date from the 9th century – does this make the Salutation the oldest?
You can find the full article at www.toursofnottingham.co.uk under the ‘Oldest Inn’ link. In order to make absolutely sure that you have drunk at the oldest Inn in Nottingham – well, you’ll just have to try them all.
One thing is definitely for sure, Nottingham is a fantastic place for a good old fashioned English pint!